Second Homes, Part 1

According to the U.S. Census, second homes (seasonal and recreational housing) accounted for 7.4 percent of all Wisconsin housing units in 2010. As one would expect, second homes comprised a very small portion of total housing in urban areas of the state (less than one percent in Dane and Milwaukee Counties).

QUESTION: The situation is much different in Northern Wisconsin. In 2010, what percentage of all housing units were classified as seasonal or recreational in the eight counties bordering Lake Superior and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Iron, Marinette, Ashland, Florence, Forest, Vilas, Bayfield, and Douglas)?

A. 18%
B. 26%
C. 38%
D. 48%


D. 38%
38 percent (46,000) of the 121,000 housing units in the eight counties (Douglas, Ashland, Iron, Forest, Florence, Vilas, Marinette, and Bayfield). were classified as seasonal or recreational in 2010.

Most people guessed 48 percent.

Vilas County was #1 in the State with second homes comprising 57 percent of all housing units in the county. Vilas was followed by Florence (54.2 percent) and Forest (52.7 percent). However, the average was lowered by Douglas County where only 14 percent of the housing units are recreational or seasonal and Ashland County, second lowest at 23.7 percent.

These eight counties account for 24 percent of the 193,000 seasonal and recreational housing units in the state, but less that 3 percent of the population and 4.3 percent of all housing units.

*TGIF is adapted from the ECON QUIZ published weekly in the Wisconsin State Journal.